Capturing the essence of a product is an art form in itself. As a photographer, I have always been fascinated by the power of light and its ability to quite literally ‘make or break’ an image AND the associated message of that image.
In this blog post, I want to share with you some insights on how to improve your product photography using different lighting techniques. Whether you have a professional camera or simply a smartphone, these tips will help you enhance your images and showcase your products in the best possible way.
When it comes to product shots, lighting plays a crucial role in creating a captivating look. While studio lights can certainly produce technically perfect images, there is a unique charm to using natural light for products that embody sustainability and eco-consciousness.
Recently I had the pleasure of taking product shots for ‘Elisara’ we were together for about 2 hours and I used the different types of light available to create different ‘vibes’ with the same set of products. My goal was to capture the ‘organic and authentic visual brand voice’ of the company whilst also creating an emotional connection to each product item.
Join me as we look at three simple lighting techniques and discover how these lighting techniques can elevate your product photography. From soft and diffused lighting to dramatic shadows, we will explore just some of the possibilities that light offers and how you can learn to harness it.
Remember, lighting in storytelling photography is not just about illuminating your subject; it is about telling a story, creating emotions, and captivating your audience…….
Product Shot: Diffused Light
For this product shot (ABOVE), non-reflective (and natural) surface materials such as wood, stone, and linen create a textured feel that works beautifully with soft light. Natural window light and a diffuser soften the light and reduce the shadows, you can see how soft the shadows are on the linen. A white foam board reflects the window light back onto the other side of the products very subtly and the soft shadows create structure and shape.
The shot below adds a human touch by placing the product in the model’s hand. The skin of the hand acts as a diffuser and softens the light again. Whilst this light is still diffused, flat, and even on the label a subtle catch light has caught the reflective surface of the lid and glass bottle, adding a different dimension. The catch light is actually the reflection of a white decorative door frame, which has created beautiful straight lines as the reflection.
Storytelling Product Shot: Diffused Backlight
Technically the BELOW images are backlit as the source of light is behind the subject being photographed, the effect is very subtle here as beyond the window is a deep veranda that acts as a massive diffuser creating ‘open shade’.
To control the exposure further, muslin curtains were drawn to a thickness that allows enough light to pass through and properly expose the products. This way, you can avoid blowing out or overexposing the background, which could distract from the main subject.
Behind me was the white foam board reflecting light back onto the face of the products along with an additional side window that had just a sliver of light coming through to create the catch light, if you look closely you can see the shape of the curtains in the catchlight reflection.
Additionally, light bounced off the reflective surface of the polished timber but was softened by the placement of books under the products (which also adds to the storytelling element). The dried flowers soften the ‘block’ of white light and also frame the shot.
Backlighting adds a magical feel and is especially good at conveying the look of morning or evening light, which suits this scene very well.
Storytelling Product Shot: Working With Shadows
Dappled light can be created by direct sunlight coming through leaves overhead. For this image, the model sat underneath well-established bamboo with the light at about 10 am. A neutral colour paper magazine (@bushjournal) was positioned underneath to serve the purpose of telling a story of sustainability and also diffuse the light further and prevent glare.
The model wore a white linen shirt that is non-reflective (adding texture), a contrast to the brown glass of the product, and also bounces back light into the product (it also reflects the eco-conscious nature of the product).
The model’s hands were then moved around until the pools of light (or hot spots) were NOT on the product, making sure that the product which is the focus of the image is in soft neutral flat light. The strong shadows have soft edges which create a very natural outdoorsy feel.
The lighting in this shot is very different from the previous images but they all work together to tell different parts of the same story.
And if you would like to find out more about these AMAZING products, click HERE to be taken to Elisara’s website.